File No. 893.00/2604

Chargé Wheeler to the Secretary of State


Your telegram of June 9, 6 p.m. received last night. This morning I communicated its contents to the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs who said it made clear that his Government had misunderstood the intention of the Government of the United States in the matter. He stated he regretted that Japan had not been informed when the proposal was made, that virtually the same communication had already been handed formally to China. The Foreign Office view is that, while the United States may not have intended by the communication to take one side as against the other, the action in effect did so and was [Page 61] used by certain political elements in Peking to strengthen the position of the President. The Cabinet will discuss the matter tomorrow. I beg to suggest that if the proposal for identic representation is accepted by Great Britain and France the fact be cabled me for the information of the Foreign Office.

Today Asahi publishes a telegram from its New York correspondent giving the alleged text of the note to China which it states was made public by the Department June 8. Gist of the note is as follows:

China is the center of power in the Far East and should the quarrels of its several parties lead to revolutionary disturbances Japan will be obliged to despatch troops to China to protect her interests. It is feared that a separate peace may be concluded between Russia and Germany. Sooner or later Japan will be obliged to send troops to Manchuria on behalf of her Allies. Peace is necessary in the Far East in order to check Russia’s separate peace movement. Japan maintains a large army at home and does not dare to move because she desires to prepare for any eventuality in the Far East. If she takes advantage of disturbances in China and sends a large army to Manchuria it may cause misunderstandings with Entente Powers, therefore maintenance of peace is a most urgent necessity. The United States is so deeply concerned for the reason that she wishes to allow Japan to reserve her freedom to mobilize at any time.

I have pointed out to the Foreign Office the incredibility of this alleged text but beg to suggest that I be authorized to give out complete denials.